Second Sunday of Lent: The Transfiguration of Our Lord| National Catholic Register

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

SCRIPTURES & ART: The Transfiguration reminds us that we are not just reaching for Easter during Lent — we are reaching for eternity.

Raphael (1483-1520), “The Transfiguration (Detail)”
Raphael (1483-1520), “The Transfiguration (Detail)” (photo: Public Domain)

John Grondelski BlogsMarch 5, 2023

Just as the First Sunday of Lent’s Gospel is always Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert, so the Second Sunday’s is always his Transfiguration. 

The Church officially celebrates the Solemnity of the Transfiguration on Aug. 6. So why does this theme appear at the start of Lent?

Mostly because God and the Church want to keep our priorities straight. Lent is about overcoming sin. But why do we overcome sin?

Because we “wait in eager expectation for the glorious revelation of the children of God” (Romans 8:19)!

Yes, the Transfiguration is about Jesus. It is a theophany, a “revelation of God.” Jesus takes the inner core of his Apostles — Peter, James and John — up Mount Tabor. There he reveals his identity and his glory.

Jesus is the One. The two great streams of Jewish revelation — the Law (torah) and the Prophets (nebiim) — are represented by their heads, Moses and Elijah, respectively. They are the ones adoring Jesus.

Jesus reassures his apostles that his Passion leads to his Glory. If you read Matthew’s Gospel as a whole, and not just today’s selection, you will see that Peter had just declared — in Matthew 16 — that Jesus is Messiah. Jesus had also entrusted Peter with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then Jesus began speaking of his Passion, which elicits Peter saying “Never!” and Jesus calling him a “Satan.” 

Like the Devil last week — though perhaps with no such premeditation — Peter wants Jesus to be Messiah without following the path God had laid out. He wanted a triumphant Messiah without suffering, just as the devil pushed free breakfast rolls from rocks. In both cases, they want what’s good not according to God’s will but their own.

Having made clear that the path to his Kingdom lies through his Passion and Death, Jesus today makes clear that his Passion, Death and Resurrection are one big, inseparable Paschal Mystery. The Transfiguration reassures Peter, James and John that death will not have the final word, that Jesus is transfigured.

Finally, the Transfiguration is not just a “Jesus thing.” As we noted last week, Pope St. John Paul II and Vatican II repeated regularly that “Jesus Christ fully reveals man to himself.” The Resurrection is not just a personal reward to Jesus. It begins an ineluctable and irreversible process that will encompass all who share in his Passion and Death through Baptism. The Resurrection leads to and empowers the Assumption. It leads to the “resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come.” It leads to the Last Judgment and the final and decisive triumph of good over evil. And the Transfiguration points to all of this.


Second Sunday of Lent: The Transfiguration of Our Lord| National Catholic Register

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